The definition of ‘media audiences’ has expanded since the time where the family would sit around a small box and watch live-aired television. With the rise of streaming services and other media platforms, individuals can watch the same show wherever and whenever they want. My question is, if you’re not an active viewer of a show itself, but are engaged in the stories and news about it, are you still an audience?
A time where I was part of an audience that I want to discuss would be the collective viewing of Married at First Sight. I usually start the year thinking “no thanks I don’t want to waste my time catching up on reality TV,” however after scrolling through my social media and watching the reactions, the memes and the comments, I always seems to give in. This year was no different.
Reasons for watching this ghastly, over-dramatised “social experiment” would include my guilty please for reality tv and drama, the peer pressure to watch by my close friends and family, and FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m sure the nation thinks the same, with MAFS rating no.1 on the 11th of march with 136,000 views.
It’s a pleasurable experience because it weirdly brings my family together for an hour and a half, 4 days a week to watch the show. It’s also fun to talk about it with the people around me. It’s interesting to watch how the entire nation, including myself become so consumed in the clearly staged, badly edited drama. It also doesn’t stop at just watching the show. The memes that follow are the parts that my friends and I look forward to. Like the bad lip reading videos. We are also consumed in the fake news that culminates post-episodes, and also what is happening to the participants in present time. I can talk to people about the show whom have never watched it before, yet know all about it through platforms such as facebook.
The negatives that are included with the mass amounts of different viewing options would include having spoilers before you even watch the show. The large amount of fake news that ultimately concludes the status of the relationships in the show is incredibly disappointing.
It’s interesting that in this day and age, there are so many viewing options; through TV, the internet and social media, that even if you do not watch the program when it airs or even at all, you still know what is happening and ultimately become part of the audience.
Mediaweek, 2019. TV Rating March 11: MAFS 1.3m as the brides homestays start. Mediaweek. Available at: https://mediaweek.com.au/tv-rating-march-11-2019/ [Accessed 20 March 2019].